What Is VPLS?
As an MPLS-based point-to-multipoint (P2MP) Layer 2 Virtual Private Network (L2VPN) service provided over a public network. The virtual private LAN service (VPLS) ensures that geographically isolated user sites can communicate over metropolitan area networks (MANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). As if they were on the same local area network (LAN). VPLS is also called the transparent LAN service (TLS).
Users located in different geographical regions communicate with each other over different provider edge (PE) devices. An MPLS network is a Layer 2 switch network that allows users to communicate with each other similarly to communication over a LAN.
Functions of VPLS and MPLS
With the increased use of applications such as VoIP, instant messaging, and teleconferencing, VPLS becomes increasingly important for enterprises setting up branches in different regions. This imposes high requirements for end-to-end (E2E) data communication technologies. P2MP services are necessary for data communications.
Other commonly used technologies, such as asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and frame relay (FR) can provide only Layer 2 point-to-point (P2P) connections. Compared to VPLS, networks using these technologies are costly to construct, complex to deploy, and slow. The development of Internet Protocol (IP) has led to MPLS VPN technology that provides VPN services over an IP network and offers advantages such as easy configuration and flexible bandwidth control.
What is MPLS?
Propose by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), MPLS is a protocol that uses labels to guide forwarding of data packets at a high speed over the IP backbone network. MPLS is a more efficient alternative to traditional IP routing and works by mapping an IP address to a short and fixed-length label of local significance, replacing IP table lookups with label swapping. In addition, MPLS labels can be use to establish a logical tunnel on the IP network. MPLS is compatible with different network-layer and link-layer protocols. Therefore, it can provide public network tunnels for various L2VPN, L3VPN, and EVPN services.
VPLS vs MPLS: Factors to Consider When Choosing Them
One of the main benefits of VPLS over MPLS is the levels of security offered. As aforementioned, VPLS extends a Layer 2 network across geographically dispersed sites using a shared core network infrastructure. While MPLS perfectly integrates the performance and traffic management capabilities of Layer 2 switching with the scalability and flexibility of Layer 3 routing. VPLS does not share layer 3 routing tables with the service provider, while MPLS may do so, which means that VPLS is generally the better solution for highly sensitive data.
Network Size & Traffic
Generally, MPLS can deliver a wider type of network traffic than VPLS. VPLS is typically use for fewer locations that need very high speeds, high performance, and high security. Thus, if you desire to connect entities such as data centers across the long-haul network backbone. VPLS is preferable as an Ethernet-based connection strategy. If a customer had hundreds of locations across the country who needs voice, data, and video traffic to be carry to all locations. MPLS might make more sense because it is protocol-agnostic and can handle multiple types of traffic. MPLS may be an even clearer choice where large numbers of branches are involve.
Levels of Scalability of VPLS and MPLS
Another key difference between MPLS and VPLS is the inherent level of scalability. Due to the manner in which these two technologies interact with your network. MPLS is consider to be far more scalable. Using a backbone of MPLS for maximum network access and scalability, together with VPLS connections for more sensitive data. Often represents the best possible compromise, you would make the most of both protocols and substantially increase network efficiency.